Thanks to HGTV, everybody now is trying their hand at house flipping which means if you are in the market for a new home, good luck finding one without freshly painted white trim and gray or beige walls. The spillover into the historic home market means old millwork is being replaced with the offerings of big box retailers and what is readily available, and kitchens that were built on site back in the day are replaced by off-the-shelf some-assembly-required solutions. The argument isn’t whether or not big box home improvement retailers have their place in society, it is that they do not offer any solutions for the historic home.
There is a Craftsman style home for sale in Los Angeles that has been the victim of a flip by someone who’s DIRECTV tuner is stuck on channel 229. The millwork in a Craftsman style home is typically quarter sawn white oak but over the course of eighty plus years, it isn’t uncommon that someone bought the home and decided to painted the trim. In this case, the colonnade was replaced and painted white. A Craftsman house utilizes square profiles in its trim and millwork and this house clearly uses mouldings found stacked in a big box store rack. Probably MDF to save an additional seventy three cents.
It’s odd to see a Craftsman style home with a walk in closet since they were built at a time when the country was mired in a little thing they refer to as the Great Depression when people were happy just to have some clothes to put in their closets. If you were going to put a walk-in closet in a Craftsman home, it would definitely not be in a modest 1,300 square foot house. These people are so committed to changing the home to what HGTV says will sell, they loaded up their cart at Ikea with assemble yourself kitchen cabinets and closet shelving. This is no longer a historically correct Craftsman home. It is still a historic home in the chronological sense, but it is Craftsman(ish) in the architectural sense.
Craftsman trim is beautiful in its simplicity and use of quarter sawn white oak. Good work is wasted if the design is flawed. Architectural styles follow a specific set of rules specific for that style. When those rules get broken, unfortunately, you lose the architectural style.